Syria may use chemical weapons only against external aggression, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
"Syria may use chemical weapons only in case of foreign aggression," said a Ministry statement read out by spokesman Jihad Makdissi at a press conference in the Syrian capital Damascus.
Syria will never use chemical weapons against civilians, he added stressing that the weapon stocks are secure, Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported.
There has been considerable concern that Syria's chemical weapons could fall into hostile hands, in particular insurgents fighting the government, or be used by to defend the regime.
According to Globalsecurity.org, the Syrian arsenal is said to consist mostly of large amounts of Sarin in addition to tabun (nerve agents), with mustard gas, and the country is reportedly producing and preparing VX for weapons. Exact volumes of chemical weapons in the Syrian stockpile are difficult to know. The CIA has estimated Syria to possess several hundred liters of chemical weapons with hundreds of tons of agents produced annually, the report said.
Syria has been witnessing intense fighting between Security forces and the Opposition Free Syrian Army, constituted mainly with Army deserters, ever since the wiping out of its intelligence establishment in a suicide attack on the National Security Headquarters last week that killed top officials.
According to the U.N., more than 10,000 people have been killed in that Middle East country since the outbreak of a popular uprising against President Bashar al-Assad 16 months ago. But activists put the death toll at more than 17,000.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org